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Tossing Pebbles in the Stream

This blog is my place to sit and toss pebbles into the stream. The stream of Life relentlessly passing before us. We can affect it little. For the most part I just watch it passing and follow the flow. Occasionally, I need to comment on its passing, tossing a pebble at it to enjoy the ripple affect upon Life's surface.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

We Are Sorry. . . .

Today, the Prime Minister, Stephen Harper, apologized to the aboriginal peoples of Canada for our countries genocidal policy of removing native children from their parent's home and sending them off to residential school to deliberately rid them of their native heritage, family connections, language, and culture. In short to try to make native children, white European-Canadians, , speaking English or French.

To add insult to injury, many of these children were sexually and physically abused by their religious caregivers. The school were run by Catholic, Anglican and United Church religious workers.

This went on for three generations. The damage done to individuals, families and communities is immeasureable. It is a wonder there is any Native Canadian culture left.

Needless to say, It is a little late to be saying "Sorry". For years now the churches have been paying reparations. (After the victims struggled for justice) They long ago apologized. The government has also set up funds to compensate victims of the residential school system. (After the victims struggled for justice) Saying "Sorry" for this ill conceived policy is the last piece of the effort to restore justice to Canada's original people. It would be nice if the government would quickly and fully honour treaties that have been abused for over 150 years.

This period in Canadian history brings shame on us all. One would hope history will be taught in schools that reflect this.

It seems the aboriginal peoples are satisfied with the goverment's heart felt admission for its part in this travesty. If they are satisfied I guess we all should be satisfied.

The future will speak of how sincere the government and all of Canada is as remaining serious issues between the First Nation's People and the Federal Governement are worked out.

My less sceptical sister sent me this note:

"I shed a tear today as I watched the Prime Minister of Canada and all the other Leaders of political parties acknowledge that a terrible wrong had been done to our First Nations peoples when residential schools were created to "take the Indian out of the child." This Eurocentric policy has wreaked havoc on aboriginal societies ever since. As a teacher of Canadian history I have long been concerned that many Canadians did not know about or understand how our First Nations have been abused ever since Europeans first arrived on these shores. Today's words will now have to be put into action if the apology is to become "real" for those who have been wronged. If you were not able to see the TV broadcast check out As well the CBC is running a series of documentaries about the issue called "Stolen Children."

I hope she is right.

Here are Prime Minister Harper's apology.

For more information


At 9:17 a.m., Blogger Anvilcloud said...

I knew it was coming but missed its arrival yesterday. I take it that sounded sincere and was well received? I hope so.

At 10:28 a.m., Blogger Old Wom Tigley said...

I'm sure many Country's have these things in their past... I know British Rule was responsible for a lot of suffering... we all have guilt from our county's past.. lets just hope that is where it stays.. 'In the past'.

At 12:46 p.m., Blogger Navigator said...

If you have done something you know to be wrong, feel guilty. If somebody else did something wrong, especially if it was done long before you were born and you knew nothing about it until much later in your life, then why feel guilt? Paul Bernardo did some terrible things to a number of innocent women. Should I, as a male, feel guilty for what he did? He didn't consult with me and get my permission before he went out and committed his acts, crimes of which I do not and would not have approved had I known about them.

I think the apology on behalf of the Canadian institution responsible for this crime (the federal government) was proper thing to do and resitution is also proper. But feelings of personal guilt for something you did not do -- I don't understand that idea.

Read Simon Wiesenthals' excellent book, The Sunflower, dealing with the other side of the guilt coin, the possibilitie and limits of forgiveness. The conclusion is that you can forgive somebody for a wrong done to you, but not for a wrong done to other people. A thoroughly worthwhile read encompassing the thoughts of a number of noted scholars, clergy, philosophers, etc.

At 1:28 p.m., Blogger Janet said...

First Australia, now Canada. I wonder if the U.S. will ever properly address the reprehensible situation suffered by our aboriginal peoples?

At 1:35 p.m., Blogger Tina Leigh said...

Came to you by way of my Mama's blog, "Strolling Through Georgia". You left a comment on her post about the weeds....yes I meant "Kill Them". They are weeds & bad ones. We grow pecans & if they are not kept in check they steal the nutrients from the soil. So we do spray them. They will rob the soil of anything good because they are of no use. So maybe there wil be more "Tina Leigh's" in the world & will help me get rid of these things so I can save money on sprays & fertilizer & put it towards other the price of cotton pickin gas! LOL! It is 4.10 a gallon here in my town. Are yall having the same problems with the gas prices in Canada as we are here in the US? From reading your blog, it seems yall are having alot of the same social problems as we are. WE have everything but GOD. Sad.

Oh your new puppy is cute. I see you like animals as much as I do. I LOVE THE PIG!! LOL

See ya

At 7:47 p.m., Blogger Ginnie said...

All countries seem to have the same shame in their past histories. I can never understand why we can't just accept other ways of doing things and not try to force "our way" it in religion or way of life.

At 12:11 p.m., Blogger Gretchen said...

This happens to every country. The natives are killed or quickly assimilated. The invaders have to be top dogs. Can't have any nasty natives around. Look at what happened in the good ole USA. The invaders killed our Native Americans will smallpox infected blankets. Won't even start on the Trial of Tears of the reservations. :(

Glad to hear your country has realized their cruelty.

At 1:28 p.m., Blogger possum said...

My grandmother's brother was taken as a small boy to the Carlisle Indian school (concentration camp)in PA. When he did not come home, my great grandfather walked over 200 miles to find his son. They claimed they did not know who he meant, had no record of him. Another boy, an Indian boy, told my G-grandfather that my uncle died after only a few weeks and was buried in an unmarked grave out back. As a child I was told to never ever use the word Indian and to never admit to my Indian blood because they would take me away, too, and if my body didn't die, my spirit would be killed, and I would be a walking ghost.
I have always been amazed that people could embrace a religion that advocated the destruction of other people, let alone their own people - but then, we were not considered people by the invaders, just another form of animal.
Even tho I am a generation away from those in my family who were imprisoned and white-washed and brain washed, when I think about it, it ties my stomach up in knots. The pain is there. And the USA still does all it can to rob us of anything they think they want. Did you know that in the state of Utah, native people did not have the right to vote until 1956? In many states, you had to sign over your heritage before you were given the right to vote. In some states, VA, for example, birth certificates were altered to "get rid" of the Indian problem. If the birth cetrificate said "white" or "colored" Indians don't exist. End of problem. End of any rights.
We called it the American holocaust, and that included the Canadian Indigenous people.

On a brighter note, I LOVE the picture of Gage looking at the T-cup poodle.

At 2:29 p.m., Blogger karl said...

if we can get obama in office i think it will go a long way to making reparations for some of our countries past. now we just have to deal with this present ass and his present transgressions.

At 8:16 a.m., Anonymous Anonymous said...

The worst part of all of this (and it happened down here in the states as well) is that a single word, "sorry" is to remove all the suffering.

That kind of talk and mental thinking is about what I have come to expect from people in government. I could go on and rant and rave about religion too, because they were often the abusers down here, but it only irritates people to learn that the universe isn't perfect after all and that things don't stay in Heaven forever but sometimes crash to Earth.

At 5:11 p.m., Blogger Mary said...


I agree with your sister. The government of Canada finally has apologized for the travesties of the Native cultures. However, it is too little, too late. These children have to live all of their lives with what happened to them and the Canadian and Ontario governments are still fighting over land that essentially belongs to the Natives. When will they learn? I doubt they ever will, but at least this is a step in the right direction.

Take care and thanks for bringing this to our attention. Going to the post below to see what's going on with Teaka.




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